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Getting to know you: Alan Moore, CEO, Thinkwhere

thinkWhere provides an online platform, theMapCloud, that makes it easy to manage and share digital  maps and geographic data. Utilising Open Source Geographic Information System (GIS) technologies, thinkWhere has developed cloud-based software applications and tools, backed by a wide range of Open GIS implementation, consultancy and training services.      

Based in the historic city of Stirling, Scotland, with customers across the UK and worldwide, thinkWhere pioneered the development of web-based platforms for collaborative GIS products and services.  The company has a 10 year proven track record of delivering innovative solutions at local, regional, national and international levels. 

Having started my career in archaeology then land surveying using traditional tools and methods, my interest in digital developed rapidly as new digital technologies started to transform the world of land surveying. Computing started to impact not just the core survey work but office functions, customer services and other business processes and I was lucky enough to be in roles with the Ordnance Survey (OS) that exposed me to this new technology from the outset. My passion for digital really accelerated when I started to get involved with the early days of digital mapping – something we take for granted these days, but back in the early 1980’s there was very little digital mapping in existence. I managed to get a post in Research and Development with the OS and that was where things really took off as we were pioneering the development of new digital mapping, routing and address products and pushing the available computing technology involved to its limits.

 From the OS I then moved into various public sector roles, as I wanted to see how customers could start to exploit the use of the newly emerging Geographic Information System (GIS) technologies and digital map data to innovate and transform the way services were delivered. This journey has continued leading to my role now as CEO of thinkWhere where we help our customers improve their business using digital mapping and geographic data.

What’s your role and what does a typical day involve?

I have the privilege of being Chief Executive at thinkWhere. As a small-medium sized business this means that I am directly involved in the running and operation of the business while at the same time undertaking pre sales and business development work as well as providing technical consultancy on specific projects. So, there’s no such thing as a typical day and to be honest that’s what makes the job really interesting. I particularly enjoy working with customers and potential customers to understand their business and discuss how GIS could add value to their operations.

 Being part of the thinkWhere team also means I have the opportunity to work alongside and learn from a fantastic team of skilled GIS consultants and developers who turn my sometimes sketchy thoughts and vision into digital reality.

Any new products, services, events coming up for your business?

 The combination of mature free and open source GIS software, a major increase in the availability of open data, transformations in the big data and data science space combined with cloud computing and increased customer awareness and expectations from digital mapping make this a really exciting time for thinkWhere.

 Digital mapping and geographic data is fast becoming integral to a wide range of social, economic and environmental activity across every business. In fact, it is estimated that 80% of all digital data we now create contains a geographic element. The challenge for many businesses and other organisations is how to easily combine and share this array of digital geographic information and create business value.

 We recently developed and launched our latest generation geographic data platform, theMapCloud. Our platform, theMapCloud™, makes managing and sharing geographic data easy. We manage and maintain a wealth of digital mapping and geographic datasets, providing application ready data, software and analysis as online services. Customers can easily integrate and share geographic information publicly or privately without the need for specialist staff or resources.

 Our goal is to grow theMapCloud™ to become a world leading geospatial data sharing platform.

 (I should also say that we recently completed a relocation to Codebase Stirling and we’re already seeing the benefits of being part of a vibrant, collaborative technology cluster that we’re confident will boost the local economy and present a range of new business opportunities for the company.)

Why did you join ScotlandIS and importantly, why are you still with us?

 I think Scotland is ideally placed to capitalise on the digital economy and this will be a major element of future growth for the country. Scotland is renowned the world over for pioneering new developments and we are already demonstrating industry leadership in the technology sector. We have a highly talented and creative workforce and we have made great strides in bringing digital into primary, secondary and further education.

 Initiatives like Codebase, Codeclan, the Data Lab and the CivTech challenges all help to create and nurture talent and fresh ideas amongst individuals, businesses and networks. For me, ScotlandIS is an essential ingredient in the overall digital mix. Bringing together members from across a wide range of technology businesses creates a strong community of interest and a voice that can help promote the industry, inform policy and drive innovation and excellence in the industry.

 The digital world we live in will continue to be transformed by new technology and I see ScotlandIS having a long term role to play in positioning Scotland as a digital nation which is why we are pleased to continue our membership.

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